Today is International Women’s Day, which celebrates the accomplishments of women around the globe and is a call to action in gender parity.
In honour of women who are shaping business and leadership, we’ve rounded up 13 female founders who started their companies by themselves and drove them to success.
These women worked, pitched, applied, and saved their way to the funding they needed to grow. Today, they maintain full ownership of their businesses, or otherwise share ownership with their cofounders. They bootstrapped their companies without outside investment (though some may take equity soon).
Subscribe to BI Prime to read how these female founders funded and grew their businesses.
Jaclyn Johnson, founder and CEO of Create & Cultivate
Lisa Qu, founder of Lisa Qu women’s clothing line
Lisa Qu is a Gen Z entrepreneur and fashion designer who was featured on Forbes’ “30 Under 30.” She bootstrapped her $US250,000 women’s clothing line from her own savings and her parents’ retirement savings.
Deidre Mathis, founder and CEO of Wanderstay hostel
Deidre Mathis has won $US75,000 in 12 pitch competitions since starting her hostel business, Wanderstay. The hostel is in Houston, Texas, and it offers shared dorms and private rooms for $US35 to $US60 per night.
Stephanie Nadi Olson, founder of We Are Rosie
Palestinian-American Stephanie Nadi Olson bootstrapped a $US5 million platform matching freelancers with brands and agencies.
Cate Luzio, founder and CEO of Luminary NYC
Former bank executive Cate Luzio says her business plan was instrumental in growing her bootstrapped collaboration space business, Luminary NYC, to more than 600 individual and over 20 corporate members in one year.
Kristie Nystedt, cofounder and CEO of Raleigh Brewing Co.
Kristie Nystedt quit her job in healthcare to start a brewery with her husband with $US100,000 of their own savings, $US150,000 in a small-business loan, and a loan from a friend. Now she is making over $US200,000 a year as CEO of Raleigh Brewing Co.
Patrice Banks, founder of Girls Auto Clinic
Patrice Banks was was making a six-figure salary as an engineer at DuPont when she left the corporate world to launch Girls Auto Clinic, an auto shop where women can feel comfortable taking their cars.
Ana Gavia, founder of Pinkcolada
Ana Gavia started Pinkcolada, which sells stylish and affordable swimsuits, when she was just 25 and a medical student in Australia.
Michelle Penczak, founder of Squared Away
Founder and military spouse Michelle Penczak exclusively hires women and men whose spouses are in the armed forces to become virtual assistants on Squared Away.
Jamie Fairman, founder of Forage
Jamie Fairman worked in HR for a bourbon company before launching her plant shop, Forage. She opened her first store with $US20,000 from her personal savings, and the business is still self-funded today.
Katy Flannery and Gwen Burlingame, cofounders of Beckon ice cream
Katy Flannery and Gwen Burlingame went from selling their lactose-free ice cream in farmers markets to nationwide availability in 1,000 stores, including Whole Foods.
Carleigh Bodrug, founder of Plant You
Carleigh Bodrug used $US1,000 of her savings to set up a website and begin offering memberships to paid subscribers to receive weekly meal-prep plans and recipes via email.
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